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Review of the English film 'Porcupine Lake' - doling out the reveries of adolescence
Porcupine Lake is a film that deciphers the codes of the inner holdings of social units and its individual players in an American ambience. The childhood memories of the director Ingrid Veninger must have had a serious role in scripting the movie.

It shows the momentary adventures of the transitions of two teenage girls in their growth. It could even connect those to the derailed lives of their older siblings and the emotionally woven ones of their parents. 

Bea (Charlotte Salisbury), when she arrives at the new cottage country in Ontario where her father runs an eating outlet, develops an intense bond with Kate (Lucinda Armstrong Hall) who already boils at the brink of a troubled family. The latter has a mother with a constant hangover, a rude brother Romeo who acts always at his own volitions and a single-mom-sister who is always unhappy and jealous on various scores.

But, despite the frowns appearing on certain foreheads, the relationship goes on. A greenhorn like Bea who does not know much about what's happening around gets carried away with the slightest wonders of a world about to open in her life. A brave and outspoken Kate has a lot of aces up to her sleeves to impress Bea who is invariably unaware of a world of pleasure they're living in.

Bea is neurotic to anxiety which must be a by-product of the tight leash on she has been bound and brought up by her mother. An overprotective mother must have stood in between opening up to the presence of her peer group. And that has pushed her up to an innocent and drawn up girl with restraints A boisterous Kate was more than what she wanted or thought. Each sight connected with Kate's brother Romeo (Harrison Tanner) is a shocking horror for Bea and that tears her apart.

Bea is a helpless product of the parents who are on the verge of divorce. Kate, at the same time, is a happy go lucky girl of the same age who has abandoned all her inhibitions for pleasures of that age and would leave no stones unturned. The end of Bea's vacation turns out to be of experimental in nature with a dose of danger. The curiosity towards sex and the helplessness of a teenage also come up. The troubled family backgrounds keep them sticking together. They both want to find solace in something that keeps them away from their families.

It's a feel of the age around thirteen, as said by Alexandre Rodinham, a writer/ producer. Think of those days and everyone has a lot to ponder along with umpteen new things in life. These stories have been carried along throughout their lives because of its unique nature and fantasies.

The film is filled with the lyrical beauty of scenes going in line with the emotional journeys it carries. Every viewer, be an adult or teenager, would meet a friend like Kate by accident at some point in their life to pay a price. The very reason will make this film dear to everyone. Bea is extremely reserved and reluctant to bring everything across and Kate is the other way around. The quiet and mousy like behaviour of Bea has been conquered by an outgoing girl like Kate, who is a bit more modish in nature. And, teenage is especially the edge of a boundary marking where the rest of the emotional life begins. The adult characters do not have much to show up in front of these two teenage actors. The story has a universal appeal due to the familiarity of the subject handled. 

Ingrid Veninger is a Canadian director, presently working as a film professor at the York University, Toronto, who has her roots in Bratislava, Slovakia. She has appeared in many movies and television series as an actor in early nineties itself. Later she had founded her own production company, Punk Films Inc, in order to bring out her own creations as writer/director. Porcupine Lake is her sixth film, built up mixing up with her own childhood memories.

The moments that go away with time have to be preserved, was her intention behind this. It's a female-centric, coming of age story, shot in Port Severn, Ontario. She has well-set rails to carry her story meticulously to its emotional climax. It's a summertime story that unfolds the candid scenes gradually, pleasing the viewers with an inimitable way of her own. 

The idea of Porcupine Lake accidentally came out at one of the writers' rendezvous held at Whitby Island, in Washington. Veninger had nothing except that story handy and it clicked. It was indeed a challenge to come up with such a compelling story and the burning issue in front of the director was, who should it be addressed to? 

After resolving to make it, Veninger had raised funds with a confidence of telling the story in a different way, unlike such subjects that had been handled hitherto. Benjamin Lichty has wielded the camera for the film with excellent passing shots. Veninger had the apt selection of actors too. After a long audition patch of 18 months, she found out Charlotte Salisbury and Lucinda Armstrong Hall as the lead actors. The former was quite a novice and the latter a performer from Australia. Veniger wanted all her actors to live together in Port Severn as her characters till she finished the shoot. Even the cell phones were not permitted, I gathered. 

The world premiere of Porcupine Lake was held at the TIFF 2017, in September this year.

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